How to Grind Hamburger

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Introduction: How to Grind Hamburger

I heard somewhere that the average hamburger patty contains the DNA of around 1,000 cows. Wow that's gross! Today I am going to show you how to grind your own hamburger at home. The taste is far superior to commercial burger, and you KNOW what's in it.

Step 1: What You'll Need

Beef
Bacon--one strip per pound of beef
Knife
Cutting Board
Butcher Paper
Meat Grinder
Large Bowl

Beef--I shop around and buy what is on sale, any cut of beef will do. Just remember the more fat, gristle, or silver skin the more work there is in step 2. It's waste and you wind up with less burger.

Bacon--Most commercial hamburger is supposed to be a mixture of lean beef, tallow, and water. Tallow is a firm, flavorless fat that collects around the spine of the cow, it is used to bind the burger keeping it's shape after cooking. Bacon is used to replace the tallow, holding the burger together and tastes way better than plain tallow. Water is weight that evaporates during cooking, you pay for it but you don't eat it.

Meat Grinder--Hand crank, electric, doesn't matter. I got lucky and have a Kitchen-aid with a grinder attachment.

Step 2: Clean and Prepare Meat

Remove any fat, gristle, or silver skin. It doesn't have to be perfect but the cleaner it is the more you'll notice a difference over store bought. Once cleaned cut into strips, roughly 1x1 inch. If using hand grinder you may want to make them smaller, not sure never used one, but after you grind the first strip you'll know what you can or can't grind. Assemble your grinder following it's instructions.

Step 3: Grinding the Meat

I like to start with a strip of bacon, to grease everything up inside the grinder. Then poke the meat in one piece at a time. Adding a piece of bacon after several strips of beef until everything is ground into large bowl. Be careful of fingers and neckties, you don't want that in the beef.

Note-- Air bubbles tend to form inside the grinder causing meat to fly. I use the saran wrap on the end of the grinder is to keep the meat off my walls. Held in place with a rubber band.

Step 4: Second Grind

Now we get our hands dirtier. You'll see pockets of bacon in the burger, mix it into the burger a little better. If you want to add seasoning to your burger this is the time to do it. Using the butcher paper to help, roll the burger into a tube or log. This simply helps you pack the ground burger back into the grinder. Taking small handfuls, grind it again, using the same bowl as before.

IMPORTANT--After the first handful be ready to catch the burger that comes out and put it back through the grinder. Why? There is still meat in the grinder from the first grind that needs to be ground again.

Step 5: Finished Product

When done, pack the burger together in the bowl. Pour onto new sheet of butcher paper, divide and store however you want.

When cooking the burger, you will notice there won't be a lot of grease in your pan, you probably won't have to drain it like store bought burger. There will also be no foaming and bubbling during the cooking process because there is no water. I used to work at a meat shop and the recipe for burger called for one gallon of water for every 20 pounds of burger. So that's approximately a third of what you pay for. That's expensive water.

My family loves this, my wife won't eat any other burger. Plus, you get the bacon flavor built in, there is only the DNA of one cow and one pig, and no floor scraps. This usually only takes about 30 minutes to do five pounds. So it doesn't have to be an all day chore to get fresh burger.

Remember make it with love, you are feeding it to your people, we can't all be vegans but we can try a little harder. Enjoy!

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    49 Comments

    0 seconds ago

    your guide is useful. thanks

    This is a wonderful method for making chicken.

    if you need a meat grinder. visit http://meatgrinderexperts.com read more information.

    Wonderful instructable. I have make ground beef from steaks in the past, and the taste was wonderful. Next is to try this your way :)
    Can't wait!
    This is also a wonderful method for making chicken, turkey or shrimp burgers from scratch~ lol

    Kewl! Very Informative. This makes me want to actually buy a hand grinder. (I can't afford an electric grinder.) I never would have thought a strip of bacon for every pound of beef is all it takes to keep it together while cooking. Now, if only I could talk the local butcher into adapting this recipe. hehehe. Hmm, is it possible to do this with a food processor?

    1 reply

    I have seen recipes on the internet for burger ground in a food processor and I think Alton Brown did one on Good Eats. The texture is not supposed to be the same though. A hand grinder seems like the best most affordable choice, It's where I started. Hand grinding elk for burger as a child for my dad.

    I made my first batch about 2 weeks ago (bought 2 large chuck roasts from Sam's club along with their bacon) and just made a second batch yesterday. Wow! At first my wife thought I was nuts, after her first burger she said I can keep making them and my daughter also loves them. One other piece of advise I had seen from Alton Brown is to put the bowl the meat is falling into another bowl with ice. He suggested the process of grinding generates some heat and it is best to keep the beef cooled down. Thanks for the instructable!

    This might be the right time for some kinds of seasoning, but it's a bad time to add salt: http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2009/12/the-burger-lab-salting-ground-beef.html

    1 reply

    Thank you. That is a great article. I did not know salt would do that to your burger. It looks like it is totally ruined.

    capibara burguers, that my friends, is the way to go. after you try one... i'll never want to eat cow meat again...

    i use to go to college and we did ower own butchering in the class for the steaks and the like we would always save the trimmings of like extra meat that was right size for steaks and stuff and grind it and use it for family meal for the class on different days i havent used my grinder in a bit but the one we used at the college we would let the grinder sit in the freezer so the meat wouldnt get warm so were it was easier to grind i was wondering when i got my kitchenaid attachment it came with two sizes did  you use the large then the small or just the large twice over?

    2 replies

     I use the small holes for both grinds. I may be wrong but I use the large for grinding pork for sausage. My Kitchen Aid is getting kind of old and running the meat thought the large holes first might be easier on it. Thanks for the idea I'm going to try it next time!!

    it should work better since the first grind the meat isnt exactly already chopped up small enough and chilled is the key :)

    AHA! So you CAN grind bacon into burgers! O: I had brought this idea up to my mother and she told me I was a loon XD Now I gotta try this O:

    4 replies

     you can grind any meat into burgers.

    A very flavorful burger can be made from lamb. Do a search on Foodnetwork.com for recipes. Tastes a bit like a giro, if you put them in a pita with tzatseke sause

    I imagine the one fatal flaw in a pure bacon burger is that it would go from 1lb to 2oz by the time it finishes cooking though. ;)

    nah. just make em bigger. haha.

    This is fantastic, I'm glad more people are doing this. I started grinding my own hamburger 6 months ago and I haven't turned back.

    I also wanted to chime in and say that this CAN be done in a food processor as well, if you don't have access to a meat grinder. Just cut the meat into 1/2" cubes and process 6-8 oz at a time for 10-15 pulses. It's also great to just toss a clove of garlic in there with each batch to really infuse the meat with flavor.

    1 reply

    I've tried the food processor route and it works well, as long as you don't over process it. I sometimes buy from Fresh Direct and will order an entire rib roast. I have it cut into a roast and steaks and ask for them to include the trimmings (I paid for them after all). From just the trimmings I sometimes get 2 lbs of burger meat.

    I need to start doing this again -- great reminder, great Ible.  Of course, when the kid was very little, I made sure everything she stuffed in her maw was organic & mama-approved.  Then she decided to live on chicken nuggets.  :p (I do still make steak tartare for my partner, by hand, all organic.)

    In the past, I included leftover ham in some, and I kneaded in fresh herbs and feta cheese and balsamic vinegar -- in both cases, these were for batches being used immediately, I don't know how adding those components would affect the meat long-term.

    1 reply

    Have a recipe for the steak tartare?
    Always wanted to try it